When the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was signed into law on December 10, 2015, it included changes to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. One of those changes required every School District to appoint a District Homeless Liaison.
A responsibility of District Homeless Liaisons is to provide documentation of independent student status (similar to a dependent for tax purposes) to unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness to use when completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
Why Is This Important for Unaccompanied Youth Experiencing Homelessness?
In most cases, when a student or the student’s parents complete the FAFSA, they are required to include the federal tax information of the student’s parents. Unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness, however, don’t have access to their parents’ tax information.
To complete the FAFSA, these students must document their independent student status to be exempt from the requirements to include the federal tax information of the student’s parents.
How Are District Homeless Liaisons Required to Help?
One of the duties of District Homeless Liaisons is to provide the necessary documentation of independent student status to unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness so that they can complete the FAFSA without including the student’s parents' federal tax information.
District Homeless Liaisons are obligated to provide this documentation – see the McKinney-Vento Act, Section 722(g)(6)(A)(x)(III).
How Does TransACT’s ParentNotices Help?
TransACT’s ESSA ParentNotices provides ten notices and forms to assist District Homeless Liaisons in the implementation of the duties required of Homeless Liaisons (McKinney-Vento Act, Section 722(g)(6)(B)). One of those forms is titled “Documentation of Independent Student Status for FAFSA: Unaccompanied Youth that is Homeless”.
This form is available for District Homeless Liaisons to provide the needed documentation to unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness. With this form, unaccompanied youth experiencing homelessness can complete the FAFSA without including the student’s parents' federal tax information.
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